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    An organisation that has established a large Pongamia pinnata plantation on barren land owned by small & marginal farmers in Andhra Pradesh, India is looking for a biogas and CHP consultant to help research the use of de-oiled cake for the production of biogas. The organisation plans to set up a biogas plant of 20,000 cubic meter capacity and wants to use it for power generation. Contact us - February 15, 2007.

    The Andersons, Inc. and Marathon Oil Corporation today jointly announced ethanol production has begun at their 110-million gallon ethanol plant located in Greenville, Ohio. Along with the 110 million gallons of ethanol, the plant annually will produce 350,000 tons of distillers dried grains, an animal feed ingredient. Marathon Oil - February 14, 2007.

    Austrian bioenergy group Cycleenergy acquired controlling interest in Greenpower Projektentwicklungs GmbH, expanding its biomass operational portfolio by 16 MW to a total of 22 MW. In the transaction Cycleenergy took over 51% of the company and thereby formed a joint venture with Porr Infrastruktur GmbH, a subsidiary of Austrian construction company Porr AG. Greenpower operates two wood chip CHP facilities in Upper and Lower Austria, each with an electric capacity of 2 MW. The plants have been in operation since the middle of last year and consume more than 30,000 tonnes of wood chips and are expected to generate over €5 million in additional revenue. Cycleenergy - February 6, 2007.

    The 2008 edition of Bioenergy World Europe will take place in Verona, Italy, from 7 to 10 February. Gathering a broad range of international exhibitors covering gaseous, liquid and solid bioenergy, the event aims to offer participants the possibility of developing their business through meetings with professionals, thematic study tours and an international forum focusing on market and regulatory issues, as well as industry expertise. Bioenergy World Europe - February 5, 2007.

    The World GTL Summit will take place between 12 – 14th May 2008 in London. Key topics to be discussed include: the true value of Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) projects, well-to-wheels analyses of the GTL value chain; construction, logistics and procurement challenges; the future for small-scale Fischer-Tropsch (FT) projects; Technology, economics, politics and logistics of Coal-to-Liquids (CTL); latest Biomass-to-Liquids (BTL) commercialisation initiatives. CWC Exhibitions - February 4, 2007.

    The 4th Annual Brussels Climate Change Conference is announced for 26 - 27 February 2008. This joint CEPS/Epsilon conference will explore the key issues for a post-Kyoto agreement on climate change. The conference focuses on EU and global issues relating to global warming, and in particular looks at the following issues: - Post-2012 after Bali and before the Hokkaido G8 summit; Progress of EU integrated energy and climate package, burden-sharing renewables and technology; EU Emissions Trading Review with a focus on investment; Transport Climatepolicy.eu - January 28, 2007.

    Japan's Marubeni Corp. plans to begin importing a bioethanol compound from Brazil for use in biogasoline sold by petroleum wholesalers in Japan. The trading firm will import ETBE, which is synthesized from petroleum products and ethanol derived from sugar cane. The compound will be purchased from Brazilian petrochemical company Companhia Petroquimica do Sul and in February, Marubeni will supply 6,500 kilolitres of the ETBE, worth around US$7 million, to a biogasoline group made up of petroleum wholesalers. Wholesalers have been introducing biofuels since last April by mixing 7 per cent ETBE into gasoline. Plans call for 840 million liters of ETBE to be procured annually from domestic and foreign suppliers by 2010. Trading Markets - January 24, 2007.

    Toyota Tsusho Corp., Ohta Oil Mill Co. and Toyota Chemical Engineering Co., say it and two other firms have jointly developed a technology to produce biodiesel fuel at lower cost. Biodiesel is made by blending methanol into plant-derived oil. The new technology requires smaller amounts of methanol and alkali catalysts than conventional technologies. In addition, the new technology makes water removal facilities unnecessary. JCN Network - January 22, 2007.

    Finland's Metso Paper and SWISS COMBI - W. Kunz dryTec A.G. have entered a licence agreement for the SWISS COMBI belt dryer KUVO, which allows biomass to be dried in a low temperature environment and at high capacity, both for pulp & paper and bioenergy applications. Kauppalehti - January 22, 2007.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

German group invests €50 million in 20 biogas projects in France

German bioenergy group BKN BioKraftstoff Nord AG has announced its subsidiary BIOSTROM Energy Group AG has created a joint venture with BEE Beteiligungsgesellschaft Erneuerbare Energien mbH to invest €50 million (US$73.05mln) in 20 biogas projects in France's Alsace region. The new company, France Biogaz Valorisation, based in Haguenau, will build biogas plants with a capacity of at least 500 megawatts annually.

Leading development company Sterr-Koelln & Partners will assist the planning and construction of the anaerobic digesters, which will primarily cater to customers from the foodstuffs industry. BIOSTROM and BEE both have a 50 percent stake in France Biogaz Valorisation, with the first €50 million investment being part of a strategy that will be expanded to a nine-digit sum when the first plants are online. The consortium will plan and develop projects and organise investment, with finance being provided by institutional investors and food processors.
This joint venture is of great importance, because there are only a few biogas facilities in France so far, with a combined output of 60MWel, even though the potential is enormous. Demand for biogas technologies is huge and our business model is unrivalled in meeting it because we aren't a biogas plant manufacturer, but a general project developer who succeeds in covering the entire project and value chain: from the location search, to long-term operational and financial management. This model has proved to be highly successful elsewhere. - Guenter Schlotmann, COO of BKN BioKraftstoff Nord
The venture targets France because biogas production potential was found to be very large there and renewable energy regulations favorable. In France, renewable energy use receives incentives that compare favorably to Germany's Erneuerbare Energien Gesetz (Renewables Law), in that a fixed amount of support is guaranteed independent of the scale of the project and the raw materials used.

Furthermore, France's biogas market is very underdeveloped compared to Germany, where thousands of farmers have built small and larger plants to generate extra income by feeding green electricity into the grid or renewable gas into the natural gas pipelines. According to BKN, independent studies expect annual growth in this market segment in France to be between 30 and 60 per cent until 2020:
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The new consortium plans to produce biogas mainly from waste streams from the food processing industry. According to BKN, French food processors currently have to pay to remove large amounts of waste materials such as potato peelings. This waste is a free feedstock for the production of biomethane, which can be generated profitably.

Biogas is obtained by fermenting organic material - either agricultural, industrial or municipal waste or dedicated energy crops - under anaerobic conditions. Biogas can be upgraded to natural gas quality by scrubbing out corrosive residual gases, to obtain almost pure methane. This gas can then be used locally for the production of heat and power, or fed into the natural gas grid.

Germany is world leader in biogas development, but the sector is expanding rapidly throughout Europe. According to the latest "Biogas Barometer", in 2006, around 5.35 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe) was produced in the EU, an increase of 13.6% compared to 2005. The production of electricity from biogas grew by 28.9% over the same period. Germany remains European leader and noted a 55.9% growth in 2006 in electricity generated from the renewable gas (previous post, and map, click to enlarge).

According to a study commissioned by the German Green Party, Europe has a very large biogas potential, so large in fact that it could replace all Russian natural gas imports by 2020 (more here). A short overview of some of the recent technological developments in biogas production can be found here: Experts see 2007 as the year of biogas; biomethane as a transport fuel.

BKN BioKraftstoff Nord AG has specialised itself in biogas project management after abandoning biodiesel projects, following a collapse of the industry in Germany mainly because of taxes on biofuels. BIOSTROM Energy Group AG functions as the company's operational subsidiary which plans and builds concrete projects.

BKN BioKraftstoff Nord: Joint Venture für Frankreich gegründet, 50 Mio. EUR Projektvolumen gesichert - February 15, 2008.

Biopact: Study: EU biogas production grew 13.6% in 2006, holds large potential - July 24, 2007

Biopact: Report: biogas can replace all EU natural gas imports - January 04, 2008

Biopact: Experts see 2007 as the year of biogas; biomethane as a transport fuel - January 09, 2007


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